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An introduction to Devil Pups

By: Clint St. Martin
April 13, 2018

Have you ever heard of a Devil Dog? The term “Teufelhunden” was translated and coined by the U.S. Marines after facing off with formidable German soldiers in WWI, a term of admiration for the tenacity they faced while fighting against these “Leathernecks.” 

If you have never heard of “Devil Pups,” your young men and women (14-17-years-old) are missing a program that will impact them for the rest of their lives. The Devil Pups has conducted a 10-day leadership camp for boys and girls aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, every summer since 1954 in response to a group of teens burning a flag and stomping on it in Southern California in the early 1950s. 

As a second year participant, Matt Wieland continues to dedicate time and efforts to the Devil Pups and his mother says, “It has made him more responsible, respectful of adults, increased his physical fitness and all around, a better friend and example to peers.” 

In order to prepare for these rigors, the program stresses physical fitness, American values and history and of course, military procedures. Devil Pups believes a grounding in the values and purposes of our nation’s history and government is essential for any young man or woman preparing for adulthood and citizenship and is of particular importance to the men and women of the Armed Forces and First Responders who are sworn to defend the United States and her people whether it’s in their hometown or half-a-world away. 

Twenty-five percent of Devil Pups graduates will complete the program and go on to join the military or become a First Responder in their communities. 

Seventy-five percent of graduates will join an organized sport and become an active team player. 

Former U.S. history teacher and Santa Rosa resident, Paul Casey, is a key figure in Devil Pups. He teaches the Pups about the background of American culture, The U.S. Constitution, California History and U.S. History (with emphasis on the founding of the Republic, the American Revolution and the Founding Fathers of the United States.). 

As the teens get closer to their departure date, the training becomes more intensive and the curriculum touches on topics such as First Aid, CPR, strength training, proper packing and body mechanics, nutrition and diet, fire safety, navigation and personal conduct. The program concludes with an impressive graduation ceremony for all the families and sponsors to attend and hear first-hand about the challenges and experiences these teens face head on. 

Following their graduation, the teens are able to articulate their own personal experience to the Devil Pups motto “Growth Through Challenge,” a tagline they will use for the rest of their lives. 

Ready for the challenge? Want to get involved? Please email Sonoma County Liaison Representative Clint St Martin at clint.st.martin@gmail.com or call 707-849-4083. For more information, visit, www.devilpups.com. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/norcaldevilpups